To the good answers already given I would add that the library
profession (and by extension, its professional education), *tends* to
be technologically conservative. Joan Frye Williams made this point
cogently on a panel discussing open-source in libraries at the 2002
DLF Spring Forum (Eric & I were the other panel members). In the
"real world", libraries often have small technology budgets, both
capital and staff. The library technology marketplace is a
low-volume sector. I would add that users often don't take library
technology very seriously (how often have you heard someone refer to
an OPAC as a "card catalog"?), and have little understanding of and
for the more technical aspects of library work (e.g. cataloging). I
think these perceptions influence librarians' own views of technology
in subtle ways, and their views in turn feed back into libray science
education. They (the views and perceptions) also color the
expectations of prospective library science students. Back in the early
90's, my impression was that many of my fellow LIS students saw
the reference, collection development, and management courses as the
meat of their education, and things like computer technology,
cataloging, and statistics (the technically and technologically more
demanding courses) as annoyances on the way to their degrees. Of
course most of them had been working in libraries for years as
paraprofessionals, and they might be excused for wanting courses that
met the demands of their jobs. Still, I hope this pattern of
preferences among LIS students has changed somewhat since then.
It would be useful for some library schools at least to offer
specializations in areas like ILS management, systems & network
administration, and software design, just as they frequently offer
specializations in medical librarianship or school media center work.
Anyone know if these areas have been incorporated into LIS curricula in
any substantial way?
On Wed, Dec 10, 2003 at 12:05:18PM -0500, Eric Lease Morgan wrote:
> To what degree do y'all think computer programming should be skill aspects
> of librarianship?